is prepared once again to give the town’s ghost population a bit of free publicity.
The society kicks off its seventh annual ghost tour Friday, ushering the brave and curious around downtown Moorestown and regaling them with tales of Moorestonians past—and their supernatural link to the present.
Organizer Julie Maravich, a member of the society’s board of trustees, said the seed for Moorestown’s ghost tours was planted when she lived in South Carolina, where ghost tours are held year-round. The seed blossomed after Maravich moved to Moorestown, where she kept hearing the same phrase over and over: “Oh, my house is haunted.”
“It’s pretty pronounced,” Maravich said of Moorestown’s paranormal activity. “Children and pets seem to be particularly susceptible to it … I think a lot of ghosts came from a flu epidemic in 1921. People were here one day, gone the next.”
This year’s tour will hit 10 spots on West Main Street. The tour used to cover East Main and Chester as well, Maravich said, but the tour—like so many things—suffered the effects of the recession and housing market collapse, so they’ve had to remove those sections from the tour.
“It’s been really tough with all these houses on the market,” she said.
Still, Maravich (who did the research and wrote the script for the tour) and Joe Wetterling (who delivers it) have plenty of interesting stories to tell.
Like the one about the woman in the blue dress who haunts the Century 21 realty office at High and West Main streets and is frequently seen wandering the top floor. Or the Collins family homes, one of which is haunted by a Quaker poltergeist reported to stand guard over people’s beds.
Maravich said the most frequently asked question is whether the ghosts are mean. They’re not.
“They’re friendly,” she said. “They’re harmless.”
Fortunately, no one has run into the ghost of Lewis Lively. Lively was an African-American man who murdered a 7-year-old girl at his home in Moorestown in 1921.* He engaged in a gun battle with police in Vineland before being taken into custody.
Maravich said she believes Lively lived in a shack, that has since been torn down, on Second Street in the area of Beneficial Bank. The story is pretty chilling, she said. But don't worry parents: She tends to steer away from it if young children are in attendance.
Tours will be held at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15, and at the same time next Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for historical society members, seniors and students, and free for kids 6 and under. Tickets are on sale at at 300 Mill St.
Maravich said they can take about 50 people per tour. The tour meets at the Smith-Cadbury Mansion, historical society headquarters, at 12 High Street and lasts an hour and a half.
She advised those coming on the tour to bring a flashlight.
*For the full story, read the New York Times article in PDF format attached to this story.